Islamic State group jihadists have beheaded 12 people and hung them on crosses during a battle for the coastal city of Sirte, the national news agency LANA reported Saturday. The fighting for control of Sirte, hometown of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi, has been raging since Tuesday, with one top Libyan diplomat warning of a “massacre” in the city.
LANA said the 12 people beheaded were local gunmen who had been battling IS in the eastern Sirte district known as “neighborhood three”.
The agency also reported that IS militants executed 22 other Sirte residents who had taken up arms against the jihadist group as they lay wounded in a city hospital. It said the jihadists also set the hospital on fire.
A Sirte city council official told AFP that clashes continued to rage on Saturday.
“There is continuous fighting, especially in neighborhood three, and the casualty toll is rising,” said the unnamed official.
Libya’s ambassador to France, Chibani Abuhamoud, told AFP on Friday that fighting in Sirte had left between 150 and 200 dead.